Pope Francis has urged Catholics in the United States to study and pray and ‘choose with your conscience’ when considering who to vote for in the presidential election coming up in November.
Asked to comment on how the over 70 million Catholics in the US should vote, the pontiff avoided endorsing any particular candidate, although it is clear that he is not comfortable with some policies of both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
Earlier this year, the Pope described Trump’s plans to build a wall along the US-Mexico border as ‘un-Christian’.
He is also unhappy with Clinton’s support for abortion.
Tactically avoiding the mention of the name of any of the candidates, when questioned by journalists, Pope Francis said: ‘You have asked me a question that describes a difficult choice because, according to you, there are difficulties with one and difficulties with the other.’
Asked about Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and Clinton’s support for abortion, he replied: ‘During political campaigns, I never say a word. The people are sovereign. I would only say, study the proposals well, pray and choose with your conscience.’
He said further: ‘When in any country there are two, three or four candidates who don’t satisfy everyone, it means that perhaps the political life of that country has become too politicized and that it does not have much political culture.
‘People say “I’m from this party” or “I’m from that party”, but effectively, they don’t have clear thoughts about the basics, about proposals.’
Despite his refusal to engage in party politics, Pope Francis has been a vocal critic of the continuing use of the death penalty in the United States.